The former leader of the extremist Proud Boys claimed he received from members of the capital’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) the location of left-wing counterprotesters inside Washington, D.C. Enrique Tarrio made the claim in a deposition to the U.S. House Special Committee investigating the events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.
Tarrio, who resigned as the leader of the Proud Boys, made the claim on Feb. 4, during an interview with the select committee’s investigative counsel. Tarrio said in the deposition, he “coordinated with Metropolitan Police Department to keep my guys away – on these marches, to keep them away from counter-protesters completely.”
The claim raises alarms about MPD’s willingness to work with far-right extremist groups. It also highlights concerns from left-wing and anti-racist groups that MPD focused more on their activities while ignoring threats from the far-right. Former National Policy Institute director Evan McLaren gave Hatewatch emails showing MPD previously liaised with the white nationalist National Policy Institute to ensure the safety of a planned event in 2017, months after the deadly far-right Charlottesville, Virginia, riot. McLaren publicly disavowed white nationalism in April.
MPD didn’t respond to Hatewatch’s request for comment.
Tarrio claimed in the deposition he would tell MPD officers, "‘Hey, I want to march to the monument,’ and they'd tell me, ‘Hey, there's counterprotesters between where you are and the monument is.’ … They've called me, and they've told me, ‘Hey, going towards your direction, there's a big group of counterprotesters,’ and I'd leave that.”
Tarrio said he would guide the Proud Boys away from the counterprotesters. However, Tarrio and the Proud Boys regularly engaged in street violence against left-wing and anti-racist groups. Tarrio was not present in the district during the Jan. 6 insurrection because MPD arrested him two days before the violent riot for the December 2020 vandalization of a Black Lives Matter banner at a historic Black church.
The D.C. Superior Court convicted Tarrio, and he served five months. He currently faces charges of seditious conspiracy and other felonies, along with several of his lieutenants, in relation to the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Officer under investigation
MPD previously placed Lt. Shane Lamond of its Intelligence Bureau (IB) on leave while the department conducted an investigation into his alleged improper communication with Tarrio.
Tarrio’s lawyers subpoenaed Lamond to testify on their client’s behalf in the upcoming trial. However, Lamond’s attorney responded that Lamond was under investigation for potential obstruction and would take the Fifth Amendment right not to testify and risk self-incrimination.
Hatewatch previously reported on roughly 26,000 MPD email threads dated from May 2011 to December 2017 that contain surveillance logs of demonstrations organized by groups like antifa and D.C. Black Lives Matter. The threads show the IB tracked protesters’ locations throughout the district, using social media and surveillance from on-the-ground officers.
Hatewatch obtained the emails from Distributed Denial of Secrets, a transparency collective that provides journalists access to leaks. MPD acknowledged the leak in an unlisted YouTube video.
Hatewatch can confirm Lamond was included in one IB email thread that provided the location of left-wing protesters during at least one demonstration in Washington, the Mother of all Rallies (MOAR) on Sept. 16, 2017.
MOAR attendees rallied in support of former president Donald Trump on the National Lawn. C-SPAN video from the time shows the Proud Boys and far-right extremist groups like Patriot Prayer attended the rally. MPD personnel do not mention the far-right groups by name.
According to an IB email from that day, Lamond followed Trump supporters.
Lamond’s attorney, Mark Schamel, told Washington NBC affiliate NBC 4 that Lamond is a “decorated veteran” of MPD and “doesn't share any of the indefensible positions” of extremist groups.
MPD has previously engaged in communication with far-right groups to coordinate law enforcement efforts around events, according to a trove of emails from Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute that date to 2017 and 2018.
Spencer gained national prominence in 2016 by giving old white supremacist ideas a fresh, suit-and-tie look during a nationwide speaking tour.
The image came crashing down after the deadly August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. A neo-Nazi ran his car into anti-racist protesters at the event, killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens more.
The event contributed to widespread cancellations of Spencer’s speeches across the U.S.
On Oct. 12, 2017, then-NPI official Gregory Conte wrote an email to MPD Commander Keith DeVille about the NPI’s plans to hold a conference at The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, commonly called the Reagan Building, where NPI had historically held annual conferences.
“As we discussed on the phone yesterday, my main concern is working with Metro PD and DHS (and any other agencies/forces) to bring attendees to the conference safely,” Conte wrote. “I understand that you have to balance safety with the right of protesters to exercise free speech.”
Conte went on to provide availability for a conference call and suggest an in-person meeting.
DeVille is the commander at MPD’s Homeland Security Bureau, which works with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to MPD’s website.
DeVille’s response is not included in the emails. On Oct. 23, 2017, Officer Nathaniel Porter, then from MPD’s Office of the Assistant Chief Homeland Security Bureau, emailed Conte, former NPI director McLaren and Brian Brathovd, whom journalist collective Unicorn Riot identified as Richard Spencer’s bodyguard, to confirm their availability.
All confirmed their availability for a call on Oct. 30, emails show.
In the meantime, emails show NPI officials worried over officials at the Reagan Building’s efforts to void their contract. Officials at the Reagan Building would confirm their rejection of NPI’s conference on Nov. 2, 2017.
McLaren, Conte and Brathovd did not attend the conference call on Oct. 30, 2017, according to the emails.
Then-MPD Captain Robert Glover sent an email to McLaren that day that asked if he would attend the conference call. McLaren said he mistakenly thought the call was canceled.
Glover responded that it was not canceled, and no one from NPI attended. Glover sent another email to McLaren asking for more information on the event and offering assistance.
Glover, Nov. 2, 2017 3:45 p.m. ET : Just wanted to follow up with you on any added details for Nov 19th. As you are aware, our sole interest is the public safety of all involved and to insure [sic] that folks are able to exercise their First Amendment rights in a peaceful manner.
To accomplish this, we would like to garner any additional details from your planning efforts so we are able to provide coverage to accomplish the aforementioned.
Again, if things are taking place in DC, we very much want to make sure things go smoothly. Even if it isn’t at the Regan Building [sic], we are easily able to adapt to whatever venue.
Thanks again, and I'm hoping you recognize the sincere efforts of MPD to insure your events safety.
McLaren responded that day, informing Glover of officials at the Reagan Building’s intentions to void their contract. Glover responded after midnight the following day.
Glover, Nov. 3, 2017, 12:12 a.m. ET: Thank you for letting us know.
Please understand that we are not involved with any facility decisions.
We cover the dc [sic] public spacing surrounding the Regan Building [sic] complex.
We will await further updates.
Glover retired from MPD in May 2022. Recordings of Glover, who declared the Jan. 6 insurrection a riot and requested backup multiple times on police radio that day, played a prominent role in the Jan. 6 Committee’s hearing.
Glover told Washington’s local NBC outlet the events of that day were a motivating factor in his decision to retire. Hatewatch attempted to contact Glover through an intermediary. The attempt was unsuccessful.
Valerie Wexler of Stop Police Terror Project DC told Hatewatch she was not surprised by the nature of the emails. Wexler, who has organized in Washington for years, said she was unaware of any such cooperation from MPD with left-wing groups as that experienced by the NPI or allegedly by the Proud Boys.
Top photo: Enrique Tarrio via Stephanie Keith/Getty Images.